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But I Still Can't Fall Asleep (Unfinished)

By pentapony
Created: 18th December 2020 04:45:46 AM
Modified: 20th February 2021 01:31:19 AM

  1. Archive: desuarchive.org/mlp/thread/35636923/#35648026
  2.  
  3. >Would you love your mare even if she wasn't real?
  4. >What am I talking about? Of course you would.
  5. >Because, well, that's your exact situation, isn't it?
  6. >She's non-physical, formless, an abstract amalgamation of qualities you admire, the personification of everything you've ever desired.
  7. >In some ways, it's better than the real thing.
  8. >She can never let you down. She's imperfect, but idealized.
  9. >You love her through her faults, yet you'll never have to face the tribulations they cause. Real relationships take work.
  10. >Let's be frank, though. In most ways, this fucking sucks.
  11. >Of course you'd rather she be real.
  12. >Every day you long for her, but it doesn't change anything. You can't will her into your life. She does not, and cannot, exist.
  13. >Hell, you have your hopes. Maybe you subscribe to the notion of Equestria After Death, or are holding out for wAIfus to finally become viable.
  14. >Six of one, half a dozen of the other. Means to a mare is all that they are.
  15. >But in the current state of things, she simply can't be real.
  16. >Is that all it takes, though?
  17. >There's one mantra you parrot relentlessly.
  18. >She's real to me.
  19. >It's a simple idea, but it means the world. She is as real as you make her, because it's not possible to love something that doesn't exist.
  20. >So why haven't you given up on her, after this long? Settled for a real relationship?
  21. >Because that wouldn't be love.
  22. >Delusion is adopting a label of love as far as convenience takes you, and dropping it at your leisure.
  23. >You could conceivably give up on her and find someone else.
  24. >Not for fear of trying, you've had relationships before she came into your life. Some of them came awfully close to making it.
  25. >But they all just lacked some certain element. You could never really put your finger on what.
  26. >The best you can say is three simple words.
  27. >They weren't her.
  28. >She's everything you've ever wanted. It's not to say she's a flawless match for you, or it'd be an effortless relationship, but she has those certain indescribable qualities that are unrivaled in anyone you've ever met.
  29. >You know the ones I mean. The little things that made you fall for her in the first place.
  30. >So you don't want to settle.
  31. >You want her.
  32. >And hell, I admire the tenacity.
  33. >Maybe she's not entirely real, but there are ways to circumvent reality. It's not exactly the Matrix, but it's something.
  34. >If life's a game, then there are... cheat codes, for lack of a better term.
  35. >The game gets a little easier when you have tricks to ease the burden.
  36. >The burden of missing her's been weighing you down for a while now.
  37. >So you've learned to make do.
  38.  
  39. >You ascend the tower steps, tracing the cobblestone wall with your palm, cool with the night air.
  40. >Around and around you go, spiraling up hundreds of feet, without so much as breaking a sweat.
  41. >That's just one of the nice little details about this place. You're never out of breath.
  42. >But the best part is what awaits you at the top.
  43. >As you climb those last few steps, you can't help but feel your heart flutter when you see her, resting so casually atop a pile of velvet cushions.
  44. >"Took you long enough," she says coyly, fighting back a grin.
  45. >You come over and playfully collapse on the cushions beside her.
  46. "You're the one who likes pulling me in at a distance."
  47. >"Only because it builds the anticipation."
  48. >You reach over and brush a lock of her mane away from her face.
  49. >She senses everything you're feeling, doesn't she? She feels it, too.
  50. "I've been anticipating seeing you all day."
  51. >"Perhaps you have, but I haven't." She begins the sentence teasingly, only for her smug little smile to fade as the subtext becomes painfully clear.
  52. "Sweetheart..."
  53. >She clears her throat. "I'm fine. I'm just delighted to finally see you."
  54. >You look up at the night sky pensively.
  55. >The stars are so much brighter here. No light pollution.
  56. "I want us to enjoy the time we have. Just like we always do."
  57. >"I'd like nothing more." She rests her head in your lap, and you bring your hand up to her mane. "It's just that things feel different now. The more we learn, the harder it gets. It's not getting any easier."
  58. "I know."
  59. >You rub her back, carefully noting the sensation of her coat against your fingertips.
  60. >You want to remember everything.
  61. "I can't imagine the position you're in. I'll do whatever I can to make it easier on you."
  62. >"You could get more sleep," she says, half-jokingly.
  63. >That gets a nice chuckle out of you.
  64. "Between work and everything, I'm lucky I get any time at all with you. It'd be nice to see you during the day just once."
  65. >"Oh, would you like that? I can do that here, you know."
  66. "No, dear, not like that. You know what I mean."
  67. >"I'm poking fun. I wish we could, too, I just want you to know there are alternatives."
  68. "Let's just keep things the way they are for now."
  69. >You lean your head against the stone wall and gaze upwards.
  70. "I know how much you like the nighttime, anyway."
  71. >"Only half as much as I like you."
  72. >As you rest your hand on her frame, you can feel her gently lifting with every breath.
  73. >Such slow, deep breaths.
  74. >She trusts you.
  75. >"How is work, anyway?" she asks.
  76. >You sigh.
  77. "Insane. We're swamped with orders, and my boss doesn't care about the ridiculous workload. I don't want to do it anymore."
  78. >She nuzzles your leg sympathetically. "Then don't. Leave it all behind. You aren't happy there."
  79. "What am I supposed to do? The only thing I want is to stay here with you forever, but I can't, can I?"
  80. >"I don't know," she whispers. "Can you?"
  81. >You open your mouth to answer in the negatory, but stop yourself.
  82. >If it was possible, would you?
  83. >Yes, right?
  84. >Is it possible? What's she getting at?
  85. >There are things she knows that you don't. That's been clear from the start.
  86. >But she's always been forthcoming. She cares enough to be honest.
  87. >It doesn't matter. It's not worth thinking about.
  88. >You're here with her now. Just enjoy her company.
  89. >But you know yourself, and you can't help but wonder.
  90. "You'd never hurt me, right?"
  91. >She doesn't answer right away.
  92. >The silence lingers for a few seconds before she finally speaks.
  93. >"Don't make me answer that."
  94. >Her response is almost gut-wrenching. That's not what you wanted to hear.
  95. "Why not?"
  96. >She picks her head off your lap and gazes up into your eyes.
  97. >"I can't promise you that. Of course I never want to hurt you, but I don't know what's going to happen. This might turn into something beautiful and real, or we could lose each other in the chaos. Something might change down the line. I don't know. There's still so much we haven't put together. I want to believe that it's going to be alright, but don't make me promise something I can't keep."
  98. >Everything has been so unpredictable. She's supposed to be your rock. But she's right, and you hate it.
  99. >You were hoping for empty platitudes to console you. That's not who she is. You can't expect her to be anything but who she is.
  100. >You pull her in for a hug, holding her tight. She rests her head on your shoulder, hooves wrapped around your sides.
  101. >It's comforting at first, but the feeling slowly begins to numb. You try to fight it, squeezing her tighter to gain the sensation back.
  102. >She senses it, too. "Just hold on," she whispers, her voice quivering. "Don't let go. It's too soon. Please just hold on."
  103. >Her words are pained. You cradle her in your arms as tight as you can, but it goes the same way it always does.
  104. >It breaks your heart to be so powerless to help her.
  105. >It's happening. All you can do now is comfort her with the parting words she needs to hear.
  106. "I love you, Luna."
  107. >Eyes clenched, hooves draped around you, she responds with equal passion.
  108. >"I love you so much."
  109. >The world dissolves around you. The stars above fade into nothing, the tower falls away beneath you, and the night air dissipates.
  110. >The last thing to remain is your love in your arms.
  111. >But she, too, is eventually ripped away from you.
  112. >And you awake, alone in your bed.
  113.  
  114. >Going through the motions.
  115. >You struggle to focus at work. You're just slightly too on edge after last night.
  116. >It's not like your job matters. The way this place is being run, you get the sense you're not going to be here much longer. You find it hard to bring yourself to care anymore.
  117. >But even if you were following your dreams...
  118. >It still wouldn't be as good as your actual dreams.
  119. >Looking back, something was off last night. But the memories always come out foggy.
  120. >All you want right now is to remember the way her coat feels.
  121. >Why can't you remember?
  122. >"I know you're thinking about her."
  123. >You look up from your desk.
  124. "Sam..."
  125. >He's always hanging around.
  126. >"You keep getting distracted and somebody's bound to notice. Somebody other than me, I mean."
  127. >You lean back in your desk chair and rub your face.
  128. "Sleep's just been complicated. You know how it is."
  129. >He sits on the edge of your desk. "Yeah, except I don't. You make it sound like some kind of cult ritual. It was funny at first, but I'm starting to get worried."
  130. "Don't make me explain it again."
  131. >He glances around the room before replying.
  132. >"Come out with me tonight."
  133. >You look up at him indifferently.
  134. "I'd rather just go to bed, man."
  135. >He scoffs and looks away in disbelief. "Well, that's your problem, isn't it? Christ."
  136. >Getting off your desk, he pats you on the shoulder. "Call it a nightcap if you want. Either way, I'll be waiting for you after work."
  137. >As he walks away, you stare at your computer screen.
  138. >You don't want to go.
  139. >But you already know you're going to.
  140.  
  141. >You push open the door to the bar. Sam's sitting in a booth off to the side.
  142. >Not at the counter.
  143. >Why isn't he at the counter?
  144. >You make your way over and join him.
  145. >"I already ordered you a drink."
  146. >Sam's been your friend for a long while. You two have been close since you were young. You both got jobs at the same place.
  147. >Though, as you got older, you started to realize how stupid and immature of a decision that may have been.
  148. >Still, he cares.
  149. >He might be the only one out here who cares.
  150. >"I don't like this look on you," he says. "You tell me it's a good thing, and I try to trust you. But you've been on a decline for weeks."
  151. "It is a good thing."
  152. >"Then tell me what's going on. I—"
  153. >He quiets down as your drinks arrive, and waits till the server walks off before continuing.
  154. >"I'm getting really freaked out here."
  155. >You stare down at the bubbles in your glass.
  156. "What are we doing there? Like, in the grand scheme of things?"
  157. >"'Grand scheme?' What are you, getting philosophical now?"
  158. "I mean it."
  159. >"Dude, it's work. It's not supposed to be an adventure. What the hell's gotten into you?"
  160. "You wanted to know what's going on."
  161. >"No, no, don't try to play it off like that. This isn't about work."
  162. "I'm serious. I'm not happy there."
  163. >"Neither am I, but you don't see me tearing myself apart. You want to know what I think?"
  164. "No."
  165. >"I think you're dicking around, wasting your life on stupid shit, and you'd rather blame it on your job than admit the truth."
  166. >You take a sip.
  167. "You don't know the truth."
  168. >"I know it ain't her."
  169. "How?"
  170. >You start to get irritated.
  171. "How do you know anything about her?"
  172. >He doesn't reply.
  173. "When I go under, she's as real anything in this damn room. In there, she becomes the truth. The only truth. My truth."
  174. >He sighs and takes his drink.
  175. >"Luna..." he mutters to himself.
  176. >You wince.
  177. "Don't say her name like that."
  178. >"Like what?"
  179. "Like she's a joke."
  180. >He looks down guiltily and fidgets with his glass.
  181. >"I know she's not a joke," he mumbles. "I know that."
  182. >The two of you drink in silence for a minute.
  183. >"You ever talk to her about me?"
  184. "Yeah."
  185. >"What does she say?"
  186. "You mean well."
  187.  
  188. >When you get home, you don't waste any time. It's straight to bed.
  189. >Lying back beneath your blanket, you summon her image in your mind.
  190. >Focus on it. Make it real. Don't allow any distractions.
  191. >But distractions come anyway. It's too hard to visualize all the important details when you're buzzed. You shouldn't have drank tonight.
  192. >Come on. She needs you. Last night was cut short.
  193. >Sam's judging you for it. He doesn't understand.
  194. >But whose fault is that? He only knows bits and pieces. He doesn't even know she's a mare.
  195. >How could you possibly admit that?
  196. >God, focus. There's nothing else in the world.
  197. >There is only...
  198. >Her.
  199. >It takes some time, but eventually find yourself in the grassland. An empty valley, with the stone tower a few hundred yards away.
  200. >Quickly, you run to the base, then up the steps.
  201. >There is no time to waste.
  202. >There is no telling how long tonight will last.
  203. >She awaits you at the top.
  204. >The moment you see her, everything in the world is right again.
  205. >"Welcome back, my prince." She stretches up to kiss your cheek affectionately.
  206. >As she pulls back, she can sense something's wrong.
  207. >"What's the matter?"
  208. >You sit back against the stone wall.
  209. "I really missed you."
  210. >She sits down beside you and leans her head on your shoulder. "I missed you, too. As much as the circumstances allow, anyway."
  211. >She looks up at you from your shoulder. "Rough day?"
  212. "Sam's having trouble wrapping his head around... whatever this is."
  213. >"Can you blame him?"
  214. "Is it too much to ask for unconditional support?"
  215. >She picks her head up. "Of course it is! You know there's no such thing amongst friends. Humans are biased, fearful creatures. There's nothing you fear more than the unknown. If he's concerned, it is born out of love. Deep down, you know that, and you like that he cares."
  216. >You turn to face her.
  217. "You know everything I know, don't you?"
  218. >She smiles. "I'm an extension of yourself, dear. I'm in your head."
  219. >You bump your head against the wall.
  220. "I wish you weren't."
  221. >She returns her head to your shoulder and kisses your neck gently.
  222. "Why do you entertain me like that? If you already know exactly how my day went?"
  223. >"I suppose it's a question of identity. If every conversation goes on the assumption that I know everything you know, then it's hardly more than talking to yourself, don't you think?"
  224. "I'm not sure. You'd still be... separate, I think."
  225. >"I don't want to just be you," she says quietly. "I mean, if I should be nothing more than the voice in your head, experiencing the world through your lens, I don't think you'd love me the way you do. In here, I have to be convincing enough to suspend your disbelief, otherwise... it won't feel real."
  226. >You stare out at the stars, reflecting on her words. She makes it feel real so effortlessly that you hadn't realized the amount forethought that goes into it.
  227. >"But it's more than that," she continues. "There is value in talking things out, even if it is already known. Sometimes, that's the only way we can deal with them."
  228. >She has so much more wisdom than you do. Though it feels like that shouldn't be possible.
  229. "I think that's what I like most about this arrangement."
  230. >"Oh? Not the kisses?" she asks, kicking her hind legs and pushing into you playfully.
  231. >You laugh.
  232. "The kisses are pretty great. But even just being able to talk to you... I don't know. It feels like a miracle, that I get that much, and more."
  233. >"Almost too good to be true," she whispers.
  234. >Confused, you glance over at her.
  235. "What?"
  236. >She places a hoof in your lap.
  237. >"Just follow the truth, my love. No matter how hard the journey ahead might be, don't stop chasing the truth."
  238. >You sit up and turn to face her.
  239. "Luna, what are you talking about?"
  240. >"Shhhh..." She nuzzles your shoulder, setting you back against the wall. "I can feel the darkness coming soon. Just sit here with me until it's over, won't you?"
  241. >You don't want it to end. You're happy in here. There's nothing for you out there.
  242. >But fighting it only makes it worse.
  243. >Last night, she resisted the darkness. Tonight, she knows better. She's learned. She's grown.
  244. >With every night, she gets a little more intuitive. So listen to her, and let these last moments be happy.
  245. >The landscape begins to disappear.
  246. >You rest your hand on the hoof in your lap, and look over her narrow frame.
  247. >Remember every detail.
  248. >The night is dim, but it's enough to cast each color into your memory.
  249. >Her indigo coat, the turquoise in her irises, and the baby blue of her lob cut mane.
  250. >You always did have a thing for S1 Luna, didn't you?
  251. >Because she's not quite the same as the character on the show. She looks a little different. She talks a little different. And in those little details lie a world of a difference.
  252. >She's grown into something truly unique. She's not just Luna. She's your Luna.
  253. >The tower crumbles to ash. The night is slowly dimming.
  254. >Remember.
  255. >The way her hoof feels beneath your fingers.
  256. >The glint of her eyes in the moonlight.
  257. >The softness of her breath against your neck.
  258. >Now, the last of the dying stars dwindle, leaving only you, and her.
  259. >Remember.
  260. >Because if you forget...
  261. >You could lose everything.
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